Monday, September 23, 2013

Exploring Bali and Indonesian Art!

Grumpy Gecko by Lily
As part of our Explorers of the World unit,  Kindergartners listened to a folktale  from Bali entitled "Grumpy Gecko"  from The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.  A disgruntled lizard seeks audience with the king of the jungle (Tiger) to complain about the fireflies that blink their lights continually while gecko is trying to sleep.  The wise tiger painstakingly investigates the situation and finally informs gecko that  through a chain of events, everyone in the jungle is dependent  on each other, even gecko!  During Language Arts, Kindergartners  recalled the story, sequenced events, then created their own story character puppets.  We also discussed what it meant to be nocturnal, the cycle of a food chain, and jungle habitats.

Dung Beetle
Buffalo by Manon

Our current Math unit continues with both simple (ABABAB) and more complex (AABCAABC) patterning.  Various attributes are used to add to each pattern's complexity-  color, shape, size, texture and dimension.  Kindergartners are engaging in lessons on problem solving, logic, sharing and trading materials, and documenting their "pattern story" results. 

 Our  Art Exploration activity included observing a batik print of an Indonesian inspired mask as an extension of our study of Bali.   We noted the use of bright colors,  discussed the technique of "wax resist" used in the batik process, and discovered both simple and complex patterning in its design.  We then set off designing our Grumpy Gecko characters as masks!  We chose to use the same or picked a different story character, used white crayon in some areas to create a "resist" effect and  then painted with bright watercolors to create magical Indonesian inspired masks  of our own. 

Science appeared in many forms this week.    "Shan Science" included dissecting owl pellets and identifying its contents and recreating clouds and rainfall using shaving cream, water, and food coloring!   We also had a chance encounter with a real praying mantis on our cloak room window.  This discovery invoked conversation about characteristics of insects.  We discussed how all insects have 3 distinct parts, use antennae to feel and/or smell, and may or may not have wings.
Thank you to all of the Parents who made it out to Curriculum Night last week.  We appreciate your attendance and hope you found the information helpful.  Just to recap for those who were not able to be here, we are excited most importantly that your child is here for Kindergarten.  We strive to provide a fun, challenging curriculum and a place where your child feels safe, valued, and celebrated. 

 The topic of Reading Readiness was asked and we considered some points.
 1) Being able to read is not necessarily an outcome  for Kindergarten.  2) Reading exercises (i.e. identifying sight words and phonemic and phonetic awareness) are introduced in the context of the Language Arts curriculum vs. as a separate subject. 3) Pre, sight and/or advanced readers are supported at their level. They are welcomed and encouraged to read to others if they desire to, and we celebrate their achievements.  4) Ample and challenging reading materials are provided in the classroom and school environment, and through book orders, and library trips.  5) Most importantly for Kindergarten, we encourage readers and pre-readers through providing lots of experiences with literature throughout the school year. We find joy in books and reading.  

If your child does not show interest in reading yet, don't panic!  Reading will come when your Kindergartner is ready.  This comes at different times for different people - everyone has their own journey.

We keep careful eyes on children as they develop their reading skills. For those who turn out to need a special helping hand,  SK also has a Reading Specialist. Mary is on site to help 1st-8th grade readers and writers with specific literacy challenges.

Our Music Teacher Josh invited us on our first Kindergarten field trip of the year to the Downtown Ann Arbor Library!  We were able to witness the lovely Kinder Concert "Sensational Saxophone" with members of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra featuring recording artist Gary Stein.  Children grooved  to various genres of music and danced using colorful scarves and fluttering fall leaves.  We even listened to  a jazzy book of Charlie Parker's style of Bee Bop!  What fun!

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